Nova Scotia

'Guardian angel': Contractor tricks senior into accepting free roof

When a Cape Breton contractor couldn't get a Glace Bay woman to accept his offer of a free roof, he came up with a plan to get her to agree.

'Once she agreed, I told her not to worry about it, that she had already won'

Jeanette MacDonald will get a new roof on her Glace Bay home thanks to the generosity, and a little trickery, on the part of a local contractor. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

Jeremy Locke often drove by Jeanette MacDonald's Glace Bay, N.S., home, watching the roof deteriorate.

The owner of a roofing and construction company, Locke thought the roof had been partially repaired and that a company would return to finish the work.

But weeks passed, then months.

"I had it in my mind that if no one steps up to help this lady in our community, I'd be more than happy to," said Locke.

But to his surprise, when he approached MacDonald with an offer to fix her roof for free, she turned him down. She had applied for a grant, and lives in the home with her four grandsons, ages 13 to 20.

"I don't like people doing anything for me for nothing," MacDonald told Maritime Noon. 

Applied for government grant

MacDonald said she planned to hire Locke when her application for the government grant was approved. But the approval never came.

So Locke changed tactics.

He told MacDonald she'd won a free roof.

"Businesses often run raffles and draws for free items so I told Jeanette that our company was going to have a raffle, or a draw, for a free roof," said Locke.

MacDonald agreed to take part in the raffle, not realizing she had the only ticket.   

Jeanette MacDonald lives in the home with her four grandsons, ages 13 to 20. (Brent Kelloway/CBC)

"Once she agreed, I told her not to worry about it, that she had already won," said Locke.

Work is expected to get underway Monday.

Locke said the materials have been dropped off at the house and he and his four employees will donate their time.

"Our whole crew is excited," said Locke.

Situation struck a chord

Locke, who's been in business just one year, said MacDonald's situation struck a chord with him.

"She reminded me of my grandmother," he said, adding that he was raised by his grandparents.

MacDonald said she can't thank Locke enough for the work, which is worth about $9,000.

"A guardian angel, I'm telling you. There's nobody out there like him."

With files from Maritime Noon

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